It’s a near impossible task to think you can suggest 20 great books which, if you are a seasoned leader you should read. There are so many opinions of what makes a great book, and so many different things each person is looking for to fill in the gaps of their understanding. With all of this in mind I dare to suggest to you 20 books that if you are a seasoned leader, you should be reading or have read.
This list, The Top 20 Books Every Seasoned Leader Should Read, is a resource for those of you who have been intentionally leading people for 10 + years. I would love to add to this list, so if you can think of any books which simply have to be on this list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Every leader should read this before they die. Sinek is a secular writer but brilliantly explores the power of knowing why we do what we do, and how this impacts our leadership. He also has a brilliant and brief talk on TED.com called ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’, which is a wonderful summary of the book.
2. Renovation Of The Heart by Dallas Willard
This book lays out a biblical foundation for understanding what the ‘transformation of the spirit’ means. Willard invites his readers into a divine process which ‘brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God’.
3. The New Leaders by Daniel Goleman
As business reinvents itself at broadband speed, what makes leaders effective has inevitably been transformed. Old assumptions and old modes no longer hold; a new style of leadership that works has emerged amidst the chaos of change. This new leader excels in the art of relationship, the singular expertise which the changing business climate renders indispensable.
4. The Intangibles Of Leadership by Richard A Davis
I loved this book and in recent years have been powerfully impacted by it. It’s a compelling look at what separates excellent leaders from the rest. The book examines in very practical detail ten elements of leadership – so, if you’ve been leading for a while and want to be really stretched, this is the book for you.
5. Growing Leaders by James Lawrence
This is one of the most comprehensive books I’ve read on what leadership is, how it works and what it means for Christians seeking to lead. It is thorough and concise, and operates as a textbook for a leadership class.
6. The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes & Barry Posner
For more than 25 years, The Leadership Challenge has been the most trusted source on becoming a better leader. Their enduring work in context for today’s world, proves how leadership is a relationship that must be nurtured, and most importantly, that it can be learned.
7. Building Leaders by Aubrey Malphurs & Bill Mancini
Training the next generation of leaders is crucial to spreading the gospel, yet most churches have no formal way of doing this. This book, written by two very experienced leaders, offers a blueprint for developing leadership at every level of your church.
8. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
This groundbreaking New York Times bestseller has helped hundreds of thousands of people at work and at home balance stress and recovery and sustain high performance despite crushing workloads and 24/7 demands on their time.
9. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
Josh Kaufman founded PersonalMBA.com as an alternative to the business school boondoggle. His blog has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the best business books and most powerful business concepts of all time. Now, he shares the essentials of entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, negotiation, operations, productivity, systems design, and much more, in one comprehensive volume.
10. Centre Church by Timothy Keller
Today many pastors are struggling to adapt to a post-Christian culture without abandoning orthodox theology. How do we communicate the concepts of grace and substitutionary atonement in our globalized culture and context? In Center Church, Timothy Keller offers challenging insights and provocative questions based on over twenty years of ministry in New York City.
11. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture.
12. Essentialism by Greg Mckeon
Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload? Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised? Do you ever feel busy but not productive? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is to become an Essentialist.
13. Principle Centred Leadership by Stephen R. Covey
How do we as individuals and organizations survive and thrive amid tremendous change? Why are efforts to improve falling so short in real results despite the millions of dollars in time, capital, and human effort being spent on them? How do we unleash the creativity, talent, and energy within ourselves and others in the midst of pressure? Is it realistic to believe that balance among personal, family, and professional life is possible? Stephen R. Covey demonstrates that the answer to these and other dilemmas is Principle-Centered Leadership, a long-term, inside-out approach to developing people and organizations.
14. Advanced Strategic Planning by Aubrey Malphurs
In this expanded edition, trusted church leadership consultant provides practical advice for churches to articulate their vision, implement their mission, and align their identity and direction. It is the biblical equivalent to strategic planning for every church leader.
15. It Worked For Me In Life And Leadership by Colin Powell
Colin Powell, one of America’s most admired public figures, reveals the principles that have shaped his life and career in this inspiring and engrossing memoir. It is a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone hoping to achieve their goals and turn their dreams into reality.
16. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.
17. The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential.
18. Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath
Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier,
19. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
There is a competitive advantage out there, arguably more powerful than any other. Is it superior strategy? Faster innovation? Smarter employees? No, New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides.
20. The E-Myth by Michael Gerber
The E-Myth, dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
If you can think of any other books that should be on this list, please email me at email@example.com, I’d love to know about them.